SEB’s rampage through their region slate continued Tuesday afternoon, and this doubleheader was the ugliest contest yet for the Yellow Jackets.
Between two games with Johnson-Savannah, SEB combined for 39 runs off 13 Johnson errors to not even play a full game’s worth of innings between the two contests. For SEB’s region this is nothing new, but SEB’s made it a point that they won’t let other team’s subpar play affect their performance.
“We talk a lot about the approach you take to the game,” said head coach Brandon Peterson. “The best teams play to a certain standard. We don’t play to our opponent.”
The doubleheader was a break from a decent run of competitive play for SEB. A 6-2 win over Jenkins followed by a 4-3 win against Islands proved SEB would hang with the best in their region, but their last game ended in a 4-3 loss to South Effingham — their third one-run loss of the season.
It’ll be another week or so before SEB gets a real test on the diamond again. Next Tuesday SEB will travel to Savannah to wrap up their series with the Blue Jackets — a team SEB’s already run-ruled 15-0. It won’t be until the following Wednesday when SEB gets to square off against Emanuel County Institute, whose 10-1 this season and ranked second in the class A power ratings.
The matchup with the Bulldogs will be a real measuring stick for SEB, until then they’ll have to be contempt with playing against 40 mile per hour pitching — something that frustrates Peterson when his team’s have to face quality pitching like they’ll see against ECI in a week.
“The velocity is something we’re not used to,” Peterson said. “The average person thinks a slower ball is easier to hit, so when you see pitching with that big of a difference it’s a tough adjustment.”
The first game of the doubleheader ended 24-0 in two and a half innings. SEB would bat around the order two and a half times in the top of the first alone. That first inning would produce 15 runs off just six hits. Everything else came via error or walk.
Eight errors total and 13 hits by SEB is all it would take to plate the 24 runs necessary to end the game on an early note. The 15 runs in the first inning would have sufficed fine since all the GHSA requires of a school is 15 runs after the third inning, but as Peterson says you just have to play with what you’re given.
“We have to coach every game the same, no matter the opponent,” Peterson said. “I want to set a certain to every game, so that can’t change depending on who we’re playing.”
Game two provided slightly more suspense, or perhaps surprise is the better word to use. Johnson pitcher Michael Stubbs set down the side in the bottom of the first inning with three consecutive flyouts. Then again, you could attribute it to SEB aggressively swinging at subpar pitches — being the Yellow Jackets saw five total pitches in the frame.
The third inning finally broke the seal on SEB’s offense when they scored five runs following a two-spot in the bottom of the second. Dylan Raurks got things going with a single to drive in both runners on base. Two consecutive errors would bring home two more runs, then a bases loaded walk by Toby Williams would bring in the fifth run.
Eight runs in the fourth would top SEB out at 15 once again, sending the game to it’s finish on account of a mercy rule. One silver lining to the blow out? At least SEB doesn’t have to play Johnson again this season.
“I can say I thought our pitchers did very well tonight,” Peterson said. “These games can be hard to evaluate, but I did see our pitchers hit the mark quite a bit tonight.”
Bryce Harnage finished the doubleheader with four hits and four RBI, while 1, 9 and 22 each had three RBI on the evening.
SEB (7-3, 5-0) will suit up again when they travel to Savannah on Tuesday.